Engage Summit Tips: What to Expect at Engage!
Wedding Professional Conferences and Education
Are Engage Summits worth it?
In a word: absolutely.
In a paragraph: If your business runs on referrals and you’re open to traveling for business, you should absolutely be there.
What to Expect at Engage Summits
After years of social media chatter and a few exchanges from our trusted partners, we decided that it was time to invest and attend an Engage! Summit.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Engage, it’s a luxury wedding conference for vendors only that happens a few times a year in different locations around the world.
Photo by Luis Zepeda Photo
The intense three-day event is centered around talks from some of the biggest in the wedding industry, as well as experts who serve the industry with their knowledge of their corner of business, like public relations agencies that specialize in representing wedding vendors. Social events are sprinkled throughout, like lunch and evening parties, to break up the time you’re sitting in a conference room.
The price tag and size of the event varies, depending on the location, and there is a definite strategy on choosing locations–more on that later.
If you’re a first timer and you’re wondering what to expect, keep reading!
1. The Engage Summit Schedule
Engage! is a non-stop experience. If you want to make the most of it (which we have some tips on here), you’ll be going from 6:30am to 3am almost every night.
Breakfast starts nice and early and you won’t want to miss it because it’s a great time for meeting new people, even if you’re not a morning person. Make sure you have clothes and shoes that you feel comfortable in because you probably won’t go back to your room until it’s time to get ready for dinner.
Get used to running on a few hours of sleep as you will be at the parties dancing until 11pm and you might find yourself at an afterparty until 3am! Expect to wake up and do it all again the next day.
2. The Engage Summit Swag Bags
People aren’t joking when they say that they bring an extra suitcase for all of the stuff you get at Engage! The very first event is checking in to the conference, which involves getting your name tag and a conference “bible.” The book has all of the names, companies, titles and Instagram handles of everyone attending.
From there, you’re given a tote bag and you walk around to different tables, filling it to the brim with different freebies like cute clutches, jewelry, soaps, shower caps, sunscreen, toffee, CBD oil and so much more. I could hardly cram it all in my bag and ended up leaving some behind.
Tip: Items vary by color and design so get there early to get the best pick of the lot! Also, you don’t need to take everything. If you see something you know you will never use–just leave it. Believe me–you will still end up with A TON of stuff.
3. The Engage Summit Outfit Inspiration
Get ready to lose your mind when you see the Pinterest inspiration boards for the conference. No, not just one board but SEVEN.
These boards have an outfit for every mini portion of the summit. They are packed to the brim with enough runway, model and influencer images to make you pull your hair out while you stand in the doorway of your full closet wondering, “How do I have nothing to wear to this thing?”
I feel like I got lucky with Nizuc in Mexico because the theme fits in with my personal style, but even then, I spent a few hundred dollars making sure my outfits were on point. I didn’t want to be the only one who looked like a peasant at this luxury event.
After attending, I can say there are two ways to approach the outfits:
Go all out: There were a handful of people who did this and I think for those who do–it’s worth it. If you’re dressed to the nines, you look like someone who has it all together and people will be drawn to you. It will help you stand out and people will want to talk to you. Plus, your outfit acts as a talking point–“Oh my gosh, where did you get this?? I love it so much!”
Don’t care at all: There were many veterans that went this route and I hardly noticed! There are SO MANY PEOPLE there that everyone pretty much blends in, unless you decided to go the all-out route. I never thought to myself that someone looked underdressed or out of place so remember: people are more worried about themselves than you!
At the end of the day, it’s about the people you meet so whether you do that better being the center of attention or feeling like yourself, that’s how you should plan your outfits.
Tip: Wear layers! I mentioned that you won’t have a lot of time to go back to your room. Depending on where your summit is, you might be experiencing a lot of different temperatures in one day. In Mexico, the mornings were cool and breezy, the conference rooms were fridged and lunch was in the hot sun on a grassy courtyard. I wore a jumpsuit with short sleeves and sandals and had a jean jacket for inside. A hat or sunnies are good to pack along for the day too!
4. The Engage Summit Seminars
The seminars might be the initial reason you signed up. The big names definitely draw attention. Some talks are purely inspirational, while others have little tidbits of info that you can take home and start on immediately. You’ll hear a lot of “how I made it” career stories from industry giants that have one key takeaway like “be yourself” or “be different and embrace it.” For us, a lot of it was confirming and reinforcing our practices and mantras but we didn’t take a ton of notes.
5. Engage Summit Attendees
As soon as I arrived “on campus,” a rush of dread came over me. There were already so many unfamiliar faces and I didn’t know how to jump in.
As soon as I saw a familiar face, who happened to be Mikkel of Mikkel Paige Photography, I loosened up and talking to new people became a little easier. You definitely get better at it once the week goes on and you recognize more faces. The name tags help a lot too!
This is where the value comes in. The connections and friendships you make with the people you meet (or sometimes – in our case – knew but never met face-to-face!) are the key takeaway from Engage. Our business runs on referrals and referrals require confidence and trust in the company–and really people–that you’re referring. This was a chance to give vendors a sense of who we are and just how much integrity we have in the work we do.
Check out the hashtag #becauseofengage on Instagram. Basically, it’s vendors posting outings with friends and business earned because they met someone at the summit. This is the real reason to attend!
6. What is going to Engage Summits like?
Overall, the experience is a whirlwind. There is definitely some strategy involved with choosing which ones you’re going to attend as the locale of the vendors vary (there were a lot of Mexican companies attending in Cancun) as well as the size of the conference (I heard that the European ones are a bit more intimate).
It’s well worth your money if you give it your all when you get there. Arrive with your best attitude, a smile on your face and your heart on your sleeve. You’ll leave with a ton of fun stuff and more importantly–new allies to support all of your goals and dreams.
Why wait until the next conference to connect?! Have you attended an Engage conference? Leave a comment below with your best piece of advice!
If it’s your first time, tell us what you’re most excited or worried about and head over to this blog post to get some more tips for newbies!
Featured image by Charla Storey